Novak Djokovic has been pleased with the sympathetic reception he has been getting at the ATP event in Adelaide a year after being deported from the country.

The Serb who still refuses to get vaxxed for COVID was put on a plane back to Europe last January, missing the Australian Open.

But now safely past Border Force, the former No. 1 is making his time on court count, winning his first match of the season on Tuesday at Memorial Drive over
Frenchman Constant Lestienne 6-3, 6-2.

It’s been nonstop autographs and selfies with fans for the 35-year-old, who even handed over his racquet to a stunned young fan post-match.

“A lot of Serbia flags, I know the Serbian community here in Adelaide is big but I didn’t think so many would come and I thank them very much,” he said.

“It’s great to be back. To see the packed house for my first match was definitely a very pleasant surprise.”

Djokovic remains wary of putting a foot wrong and admitted he might have had a nerve or two when he hit the immigration queue last week.

“Twelve months ago is also a long time ago, already it is behind me, I’ve moved on and looking forward.

“I don’t hold a grudge, I’m here to play tennis, to enjoy sports and spread good energy.”


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